To Make Love In Pandemic Times

Bernardo Guerra Machado

Covid hit Portugal around March 2020. Following neo-modernist
tendencies of seeking to digitise artistic expression, I thought of
creating a blog named “Fazer Amor em tempos
de pandemia” (To make Love in pandemic times). Or “Covidius
Poeticus”; never decided exactly which. There was one simple rule:
to share original works produced in isolation, which are somehow
connected with Love. Obviously, it did not need to be the romantic
variant of the term. It could be the affection for the friends you
miss; the nostalgia about places we were not able to visit; the family
members you were looking forward to seeing again… and so on, and
so forth. There was no problem regarding the offer and demand, as
the whole World was bursting with the desire to squeeze out emotions
and lacking Human contact! Little by little, some interesting posts
started popping in. In the end, there were contributions in 5 different
languages; some home-made, others consisting of tales from travellers
trapped in distant continents. There were, as well, materials including
songs and videos, marked with an asterisk in the index, which can be
found using the QR codes, or on the website.

It all started, of course, within my close-friendship network.
Nonetheless, the situation got happily out of control – with
anonymous participations and people who are completely unknown
to me joining in! Alongside this chaos, something was made more
and more clear: that we are not made to be still, inert! And, though
it has its pros and cons, we simply need each other. Still, it is also
true that we had a wonderful opportunity of exploring the power of
solitude. In fact, many of us may well consider this harsh year to have
been a great tutor, hopefully, managing to use its teachings to deeper
know ourselves. Interestingly, it became quite common to hear that
the countryside was the right place to be. There was an exodus from
the city’s apartments to the piece of land closest to Nature each one
of us could find. In my case, I had my grandparents’ farm to seek
refuge. There, I found peace working in the fields, collecting chicken
eggs, cleaning the garden, and building a birds’ shelter. Digging in
the house’s old library, I rediscovered the pirates that populated my
childhood, old myths concerning my origins, forgotten verses… It was
very hard for me to master the art of being alone, but I think I did a
good job.

An ironic paradox emerged: despite being the only thing we had
to remain in touch with, we got proof that digital technologies were
not enough! Alone, they could not, by any means, deeply satisfy us.
All these algorithms, pixels, tons of information saying one thing
and its opposite… they are not the whole story, they cannot contain
Human Nature in all its complex diversity. There is something more
to us, which can only be transmitted by eye glances, street shoves, bus
drivers, lonely storytellers, and other similar little stochastic aspects
of our daily Lives. Our faith in the holy technology and our certainty
of being in control of the situation, both were deeply shaken. It seems
that we are destined to have at least one big, healthy disappointment
each century. Recently, when I moved to Greece, I had the childish
hope that the whole thing would be over (I like to consider myself an
undercover optimist)… Yet, having had to face a second lockdown, I
decided to turn back to the blog, gather more material, and try my luck
at making a diary-like book out of it. Well, here it is, apparently… I
hope you enjoy it!

A deep “thank you” to all those that contributed with their works
to this project; to Ana Luísa and Sara for the extra help; to my dear
Boicote colleagues for the fundamental, generous contribution to make
this idea real; and, finally to Balkan Hotspot and the European Solidarity
Corps, for all the given support!

Bernardo Guerra Machado

Available on Issuu:

You can buy a physical copy of the book (at price of production + posting expenses) at:

-------------------------------------------------------------- SHARING IS CARING! --------------------------------------------------------------


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